Brainerd: Gary Scelzi Saturday notes

SCELZI MAKES IT INTO 16TH IN BRAINERD QUALIFYING BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 11, 2007) - Gary Scelzi and the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team endured some mechanical issues during qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals this weekend,...

SCELZI MAKES IT INTO 16TH IN BRAINERD QUALIFYING

BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 11, 2007) - Gary Scelzi and the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team endured some mechanical issues during qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals this weekend, but team effort helped him earn a spot in the 16-car field, in No. 16.

In a car now tuned by Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler, who are also in charge of the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T driven by teammate Jack Beckman, Scelzi posted a solid 5.247-second elapsed time at 270.16 mph in the first session in the Minnesota heat and humidity on Friday (good for No. 8), then had a surprising loss of traction in the cooler Friday evening session, where his 10.767/82.77 pass relegated him to No. 15.

Today, in the third qualifying round, amid brief intervals of rain sprinkles, Scelzi, in the first pair, recorded a quicker 4.956/309.91. But, as cloud cover came through the end of the session, he found himself in No. 16.

In his final try, with a bright sun baking the track, by the time his pair came to the starting lights, he'd been bumped from the field. A last-ditch effort resulted in a 4.905/317.64 pass that moved him back into the 16th position.

"I knew this could happen," said four-time NHRA world champion Scelzi, "that we could get in trouble and possibly not qualify. Todd and Phil switched everything over on this car that's humanly possible and there was one part on here that wasn't right that we thought was right and didn't find out until after the run, which is pretty unfair for Todd and Phil. I'm sorry it happened, but it did.

"Todd and Phil are very intelligent men and I can tell right I'm going to enjoy working with them for the rest of the year. I definitely miss Mike (Neff, former crew chief who is moving to John Force Racing to drive in 2008), but Mike's moving on and so are we."

Scelzi faces No. 1 qualifier Mike Ashley in first round of eliminations on Sunday.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Scelzi , Jack Beckman , Mike Ashley